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What Are Gap Teeth?

Maxillary central incisors are teeth located in the front upper jaw or maxilla. As with all incisors, their function is to cut or bite off food before chewing. When space exists between the contacts of the maxillary central incisors, the condition is referred to as a diastema or gap teeth.

Baby teeth begin to form in-utero around 14 weeks following conception. Permanent teeth begin to form from three to four months following conception. Baby teeth come in between 3-18 months of age, and permanent teeth come in at 7-8 years of age. Maxillary central incisors, located close to the mid line of one.s face, are the most visible of all teeth. Their position may determine the existence of gap teeth or diastema (a space between two teeth). At some stages, it.s normal for developing teeth to have gaps between them. These spaces often close naturally after permanent canine teeth come in.

One frequent cause of space between central incisor teeth is the presence of a large frenulum labii superioris; the small fold of tissue that secures or restricts upper lip motion. It is the tissue that connects the lip to the gum. If the frenulum is the cause of gap teeth, it can be fixed through periodontal surgery to reduce the frenulum labii superioris. In other people, gap teeth are caused partly by undersized lateral incisors (teeth next to the two front center teeth). Your dentist can determine whether or not these teeth should be made wider using crowns, veneers or bonding.

Gap teeth are treatable if needed or desired; though treatment is not always necessary. Treatment depends upon many factors, including your age, dental development, facial/skeletal relations, and the cause and size of the gap. If the frenulum and lateral incisors are fine, correction to smaller spaces can be achieved with filling, veneer, direct dental bonding, or a crown. Larger tooth gaps may require orthodontics such as braces or Invisalign. Orthodontic treatment for gap teeth, when it is the only orthodontic problem, can be achieved with any of these options or combination thereof: full braces on just the upper teeth or the upper and lower teeth; partial braces on only some of the upper teeth; or a removable appliance similar to a retainer. One problem associated with orthodontic correction is the chance of a relapse. Sometimes the gap will reappear after treatment. This problem may be avoided by using a permanent retainer on the backside of the teeth.

It is important to have your dentist check your teeth regularly. If you have gap teeth, it is a good idea to go to your dentist for an evaluation to determine the underlying cause. Our dentists and staff here at Atlantic Dentists are ready to work with you to provide the proper dental care you need for good health and wellness. Please call us at 386-673-1611 to schedule your next dental check up.